Reverend Horton Heat
Recently, the Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, had something along the lines of what he calls an epiphany.
He's a little tired of being taken so seriously-well, maybe not seriously, exactly, but you get the idea-and lately he's noticed that some of his funnier, country-tinged songs were his biggest crowd pleasers. Besides, being entertaining is what this is all about, right?
So, ladies and gents, roll your smokes up in your sleeve and hold on to your cowboy hats, it's time to take a trip back to a time before slick, over-produced country became the norm-a time when outlaws wrote songs about being without a pot to piss in-or at least about psycho exboyfriends and deadbeat girlfriends that spend your paycheck faster than you can say Lone Star.
Welcome to Laughin' and Cryin' with the Reverend Horton Heat a record full of country-heavy tunes about bad habits, well-meaning but clueless husbands, ever-expanding beer-guts and, well, Texas. It wouldn't be a Reverend Horton Heat record without a song or-in this case, two-about the Lone Star State. And, while Laughin' and Cryin' marks a detour from the hard driving punkabilly of the Rev's last record, 2004's Revival, this time tending toward honk, there's still some shit-kickers ["Death Metal Guys"] to let you know that Heath and crew still mean business.
"I really wanted to capture the feelings of recordings of the late '50s, early '60s," Heath said of the songs on the new record.
Exhibit A: Beer Holder, a honky-tonker about a guy who finds the table by his chair a bit too far of a stretch-so he opts for a new "beer holder," his growing gut. While this guy finds his solution genius, his woman thinks otherwise.
"[The record is] kind of from a regular guy point of view," Heath said. "You know, I like to do stuff that's kind of tongue-in-cheek that makes fun of the good old boy thing as much as trying to glorify the country boy thing."
Heath originally conceived the new record as the product of an alter ego, Harley Hog, a sort of "laughing and crying" singer.
Formed in the winter of 2001 out of necessity, The Cheats decided to create the kind of band that was lacking in the city – an old-fashioned, late-70’s-style punk rock ‘n roll band. Led by vocalist Todd Porter (aka Todd Cheat - former frontman of Silver Tongued Devil and Eviction), The Cheats have logged many miles on tour, adopting the DIY punk attitude that is crucial to the scene. Now on their second full-length, /Life’s Short…/, The Cheats continue the pillage, leaving nothing in their wake but empty beer bottles and cigarette burns… just like they had always intended to.
The sound of The Cheats is pure rock ‘n roll, tailor-made for beer baths, shout-alongs, and the inevitable purge after a long, hard night of drinking. Ready to provoke such behavior are tracks like the surging "No Time" or the catchy "I Don’t" and the raucous "Endless Vacation." Not wanting to waste any time, these two-minute bullets of hooks and blazing chords are built to destroy live, and they do just that.
With Porter’s grizzled and gnarly vocals leading the way along with Wez and Eric Wrecker’s dirty power chords, The Cheats bust out a few fun covers, including "Surrender" by Cheap Trick and "Hanging On The Telephone" by Blondie. Both renditions are faithful and pure, showing these punk vets have more in them than reckless abandon. The band also tackles a little known gem written by Demolition 23 which featured Little Steven (Bruce Springsteen) and Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks) called "Hammersmith Palais."
This kind of no-frills, no bullshit punk rock is hard to find these days, as The Cheats have become one of the last ambassadors of a sound that has been overrun with wannabes and scenesters. These ambassadors of the punk creed plan on spreading this gospel of infectious fury to anyone willing to listen, most notably, those who don’t know any better.
A breath of fresh air that happens to smell like stale beer, cigarettes, and dirty sex, The Cheats will be around a lot longer than any of these punk and EMO poseurs will. You need this. You know you do.